While you may have heard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you may not know precisely what it is or what it does. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, was signed into law by President Nixon on December 29th, 1970 which created OSHA. OSHA is a national agency that is dedicated to helping employees work in a safe environment. OSHA establishes standards and enforces them by promoting training, doing outreach, education, and ensuring that companies are complying with what is set in place.
When businesses keep their employees safe, they protect their company in the long-run. Over $53 billion is lost a year from workplace injuries. That includes money that was lost because of decreased productivity, it provides training and replacement costs for the employee that was injured and the time that is spent needing to investigate the injury.
Under the act, there are federal plans that certain private and public workers would be covered under. Then there are the OSHA-state approved plans, which the federal government prefers each state to create so that they can better manage it. By having the state create these plans they are better able to cater to their workers’ conditions. The states generate a plan that must be approved by OSHA, once that has been done they carry out their own safety and health programs.
Employers are responsible for creating and maintain a safe environment for their workers, and staying compliant to all OSHA regulations.
A few examples of OSHA regulations that must be followed by employers are:
- A poster titled “Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law” must be placed in full view for employees to see.
- Accurately train employees on the chemical dangers they can come in contact with by teaching them the chemical label system, alarms, and color-coded system that is used.
- Workplace injury and sickness records must be kept
- No retaliation against employees that use the rights given to them under this act, which would include the right to report an injury or sickness that came from working.
A few examples of worker rights are:
- The opportunity to place a complaint with OSHA, and have the workplace reviewed.
- Get information about hazards, prevention, and standards that the workplace would fall under. The training has to be completed in a language that all employees understand.
- Employees should have access to all of their workplace medical records
- Right to file a complaint if retaliation is taken against the employee for using any of the rights provided to them by the act.
These are just some of the regulations that must be followed as well as some rights that you have. While you may believe that this is not pertinent to your job. You have to understand the rights that you have as an employee. OSHA gives you the right to work in a safe environment because they understand that when you get hurt, the repercussions hurt more than just your family. It also hurts the economy, and the company itself. When you get hurt, you aren’t the only one being affected, know your rights.